Lisa's Open Road


    Team BNE


    Chicago, IL


    Public Television: Season 9

  • ON DVD:


Operations Director/Youth Film Coordinator
Echo Park Film Center

“As adults, we become very preoccupied about what we should be doing, rather than what feels right to be doing… Any class we teach for adults is about unlearning that. To give [people] the freedom as individuals to just mess around for a few hours. It really is just about letting go and experimenting.”


Film Non-Profit Organizations


Community Culture Education Family Fulfillment Transitions Conflict Exploration


Being Creative Teaching / Mentoring


continually learning, death, doing what is right, empowerment, experimenting, family, film making, filming, films, freedom, ideas, immigrant, insincerity, Italian, italy, relationships, routine, storytelling, teaching, trying new things


Lisa Marr had never even picked up a video camera when she came across a fluffy-haired filmmaker named Paolo Davanzo in her neighborhood one fateful day. Standing outside of a storefront that appeared to be a hybrid school/theater, Paolo told Lisa that he had just opened up a community film center. Lisa walked inside, and her life changed forever. Today, Lisa co-runs Paolo’s nonprofit film organization called the Echo Park Film Center, which provides free and low-cost film resources to undeserved members of the community. But her turn onto a Road in film was miles away from where she first started. In fact, Lisa had gone to school to become a lawyer. But the spirit of communal creation that Paolo had cultivated at his film center drew her in like a magnet. So she started taking filmmaking classes, volunteering her time, and soon she was hooked. Now, over a decade later, the mission of the Echo Park Film Center is the fulcrum on which Lisa’s life work rests. She and Paolo empower at-risk individuals to express their voices creatively through free filmmaking classes, free equipment rentals, movie screenings, and beyond. Their goal is to prove that filmmaking isn’t about expensive equipment, studio executives, and Oscar speeches. It’s about sharing diverse experiences—and everyone has a story to tell. Ultimately, Lisa has found a pathway that truly fulfills her; and she didn’t even find it till age 35! But it doesn't matter what age you are when you find a meaningful calling. As Lisa says, “I'm a firm believer in the fact that you can continually be learning things in life, trying new things, and finding your path.”

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